Hempfield exercise class drums up enthusiasm

| Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, 11:12 a.m.

Kerrie Pelliccione of South Greensburg lunged to the left while striking the exercise ball in front of her with two drumsticks, then lunged to the right.

She repeated the movements — and others — as she burned more than 500 calories during a 45-minute session of Drum Beatz.

During the program, participants strike stationary exercise balls with drumsticks while moving to the beat of popular music.

The twice-weekly program is being held on Thursdays and Saturdays at the Westmoreland Athletic Club in Hempfield.

“It's upbeat,” Pelliccione said. “You get your frustrations out. It's the only class I probably look forward to each week. It's just fun and something different.”

Club Manager Laurie Corbett said she believes the club is the first here to offer Drum Beatz. “We've been Googling it, searching it. We're the only ones in the area,” Corbett said. “New York and California are the big areas for it.”

On this particular Thursday, Pelliccione and 19 other women listened as instructor Karen Roth called out different movements while popular tunes pounded in the background.

The women jumped and struck the exercise ball. Or they clicked their drum sticks together and then stepped to their left or right or back and forth. Their movement is constant.

“It doesn't look like you're doing too much, but I'm huffing and puffing at the end of the routine,” said Pam Gumbita, 53, of Unity.

Participants' images flashed in bright colors on mirrors to their front and right. Other members of the athletic club off Route 30, east of Greensburg, stopped at the entrance door to the exercise studio and gawked as the women worked.

Gumbita's sister, Lorrie Shepler, 50, joined in the sweating.

“It's very motivating,” Shepler said. “It's the group that you're with that really pushes you. I come here for the group of girls and the instructor. She's the best. She keeps you motivated.”

Participants range in age from teens to senior citizens. A mother and daughter regularly participate, as does another pair of sisters.

“This class is easily modified if someone has a (physical) problem,” said Roth, a fitness instructor for more than 20 years. “And it's a lot of fun.”

Participants finished the workout obviously tired but expressing satisfaction about their efforts.

“We don't stop,” Gumbita summed

“I've gotten a lot of positive feedback,” instructor Roth said. “People like it because it's different. It's fun and a lot of core work and a total-body work.”

The athletic club started the program this month.

“We thought it would be popular for New Year's resolutions for people to try,” Corbett said.

More Drum Beatz sessions will be added to the 40 total classes now offered by the athletic club if interest continues, the manager said.

“We want to add more classes because it's becoming popular in a hurry,” Corbett said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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